Sam Bankman-Fried, a cryptocurrency billionaire, went from industry hero to villain in the span of a week, losing the vast majority of his fortune as his $32 billion company went bankrupt and drawing the scrutiny of the SEC and DOJ.
“You would’ve thought that I’d be getting no sleep right now, and instead I’m getting some, it could be worse.”
Mr. Bankman-empire Fried’s crumbled last week after a run on deposits left his cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, with a $8 billion deficit, prompting the business to declare for bankruptcy. He had been likened to financial tycoons like John Pierpont Morgan and Warren Buffett. The fallout from this has been seen across the crypto business, causing some firms to become unstable and spreading broad suspicion in the underlying technology.
Mr. Bankman-Fried, 30, has said relatively little publicly over the past week outside of a few tweets, emails, and texts to staff and reporters. He expressed a great deal of sadness over the demise of FTX in the interview he gave on Sunday.
However, Mr. Bankman-Fried did acknowledge that his detractors in the crypto community were correct that he had spread his economic interests too thinly throughout the sector. He said that he had been preoccupied with other matters and had thus failed to see that FTX was having financial difficulties.
Mr. Bankman-Fried, who lives in the Bahamas, refused to disclose his present whereabouts out of fear for his safety. Mr. Bankman-Fried and FTX’s attorneys did not return calls seeking comment.
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In the crypto community, Mr. Bankman-collapse Fried’s has been a shock. However, according to interviews with nine of his employees and business partners and internal correspondence acquired by The New York Times, it became clear in recent months that his financial empire was in danger and that his aspirations surpassed his grasp.
As a company, Bankman-Fried took a dramatic turn for the worst when FTX declared bankruptcy. The 30-year-old founded FTX in 2019 and grew it into one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, earning himself an estimated $17 billion in the process. In January, FTX was valued at $32 billion by investors including SoftBank and BlackRock.
The issue has sent shockwaves across the cryptocurrency market, causing the value of several currencies to crash. And many are drawing parallels between FTX’s demise and other significant financial collapses in the past.
On Friday, FTX announced that it has handed over management of the firm to John J. Ray III, a restructuring expert who oversaw the massive bankruptcy of Enron Corp.